An Enigma

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“The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and He sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road. And the crowds that went before Him and that followed Him were shouting, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!’ And when He entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, ‘Who is this?’” -Matthew 21:6-10


He came in riding on a donkey’s colt, not a stallion like a conquering Caesar; no army, no legions, no bravado. There was a crowd shouting hosannas and waving palm branches, but the whole affair may have lasted little more than an hour. He did not go sit on a throne but went instead to the temple where He made Himself unpopular with the money changers and street sellers, with the High Priests, and rulers of the people. Jesus apparently wasn’t concerned with popularity.

This was the Triumphal Entry. It included the tears of a Savior who wept over the nonchalance of the people. Jesus was who He said He was, but this made no impact on this varied populace, who were by and large ignorant of the pertinent Old Testament prophecies of a coming Messiah – a Messiah who was now there. John told us succinctly, “He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him.”

Even His forerunner, John the Baptist, at one point sent messengers to ask Jesus if He was truly the One who was promised or if they should be looking for another. Jesus spent three years with His nearest disciples, and they could not quite grasp the essentials of who He really was – not until the resurrection and His appearances to them.

Jesus was so far out of the ordinary to men and women who had never experienced anything like Him, yet His telling them that He and the Father were one, that He Himself was God would not penetrate their understanding. This they could not grasp; they could not relate to it. He appears to be an ordinary, yet not so ordinary man, an enigma.

That is, until John was drawn up into heaven itself during his exile on the small island of Patmos and he witnessed with his own eyes the future return of the Lamb to the earth in power and majestic glory, and until Peter ate roasted fish on the beach of a lake with his resurrected Lord and engaged Him in animated and revealing conversation. Not until then did these followers of Jesus fully grasp who it was they were dealing with. Jesus was who He had told them He was, even though it had gone at first way over their heads.

When you come to acknowledge that He is no charlatan and that the promises and prophecies of His coming, stretched over millennia, were precisely fulfilled, when you listen carefully again to His words and teaching, consider His acts and miracles, look at the transformation of men and women through contact with Him, you cannot doubt who He is. He is exactly who He said He is.

No other before or after Him came as He did; in fact, He was the opposite. He claimed a unique and wholly other persona because He was. Jesus was God, but He was God in human flesh. This was an enigma to created, finite humanity. It still is to those who will not believe, to those, you can say, who will not believe because they choose not to believe.

But for those who believe what Jesus says about Himself, such followers must cling more heartily to His words, for His words are life itself. Believe in Jesus’ humanity that you might know that His actual death on the cross as man was not only real for your salvation, but His resurrection as man was just as real, ensuring the promise of your resurrection.

Believe in Jesus’ deity that you might truly fear to hear and obey all He has told you. Everything that exists does so because He holds it all together by the power of His word and being. I know you cannot grasp this in totality, but you can believe it by faith when His Word tells you it is so!

Jesus is who He says He is, and that is your never-ending salvation. Such is not comprehensible, but it is satisfying, in the very least, to your soul.


“O Lord, how shall I meet You, how welcome You aright? Your people long to greet You, my hope, my heart’s delight! O kindle, Lord Most Holy, Your lamp within my breast to do in spirit lowly all that may please You best.”

(First verse of Paul Gerhardt’s hymn, “O Lord, How Shall I Meet You,” 1653)

 

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Stephen Leonard

Paul Anderson Youth Home